Our Evesham Employment Law Blog recently covered an important legislative change included in the Affordable Care Act affecting employment rights in a post titled “FLSA now defines clear employment rights for nursing moms.” The legislative change amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to define the requirement that employers provide new moms with both the time and a clean, private space to nurse.
Part of defining the requirements included setting labor standards for what a “clean, private space in which to express milk” would look like. As for private, a nursing mom had to be hidden from sight of and apart from co-worker intrusion. What about clean? It is likely a safe bet that most women wouldn’t consider a room with dead insects in their definition of clean.
A complaint was recently filed describing an incredible story about what one nursing mother was forced to endure. Although the FLSA now specifically says a bathroom doesn’t count, that was the place that this woman was first directed to when she shared her nursing needs.
The second option was a first-aid room. It might sound like a good option, but male co-workers could and did pound on the door, shouting at the woman. Other rooms were offered with their own issues, like the absence of a working lock.
Finally, the woman was shown into an “old locker room.” At first glance, the room was filthy, but the employer promised that it would be cleaned up for her use. What was the company’s definition of clean? In a building that reaches temps of 106 degrees, she sat in a room with no air conditioning, on an unfinished floor and amongst the company of dead bugs.
“What could I do?” she said about her decision to nurse in the room, “my baby has to eat.”
Source: The Huffington Post, “Bobbi Bockoras, Breastfeeding Mom, Allegedly Forced By Employer To Pump On Dirty Floor,” Katy Waldman, Nov. 8, 2013